Paying Attention to the Right Thing: Issues of Focus in Case-Based Creative Design

Janet L. Kolodner and Linda M. Wills, Georgia Institute of Technology

Case-based reasoning can be used to explain many creative design processes, since much creativity stems from using old solutions in novel ways. To understand the role cases play, we conducted an exploratory study of a seven-week student creative design project. This paper discusses the observations we made and the issues that arise in understanding and modeling creative design processes. We found particularly interesting the role of imagery in reminding and in evaluating design options. This included visualization, mental simulation, gesturing, and even sound effects. An important class of issues we repeatedly encounter in our modeling efforts concerns the focus of the designer. (For example, which problem constraints should be reformulated? Which evaluative issues should be raised?) Cases help to address these focus issues.

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